There is also evidence that it plays a crucial role in blood vessel contraction and dilation which affects blood pressure. And there is a growing body of work supporting the importance of calcium in weight control and management.
The bulk of body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth with the remainder held in the blood, muscle and interstitial fluid between the cells.
A constant level of calcium is maintained in body fluid and tissues so that these vital body processes function efficiently. More than 99 percent of body calcium is stored in the bones and teeth; the remaining 1 percent is found in blood, muscle, and the fluid between cells.
Calcium is lost from the body every day in urine and faeces, and trace amounts are lost in sweat, shedding skin, hair, and nails. Calcium lost through these avenues is normally replaced by calcium from food. If your diet does not contain enough calcium or if you don’t absorb enough calcium from your food or supplements to replace the lost calcium, the body breaks down bone to get the calcium it needs.
Knowing how important this mineral is for healthy and efficient functioning of the body, it’s disappointing to realise that it’s one of the most difficult minerals to absorb. Calcium works best in the body when teamed with potassium and magnesium. Taken in conjunction with these two minerals and coupled with Vitamin D, a body will have a much higher absorption rate than if calcium is taken on its own. A balanced diet rich in all of these nutrients is best.
Many people have become aware over time that their tolerance for dairy products is quite low. In actual fact, there are many plant sources of calcium to be had if one knows where to find them, you don’t have to only consume dairy products to get your recommended daily dose of calcium. Here is a simple chart that will help you plan your meals so that you get all the calcium your body needs.
Plant Sources of Calcium
Below is a list of plant sources that provide calcium and the amount that a serving of each food yields:
*Indicates a range of calcium found in different tofu products, fortified soymilks, fortified rice milks, and fortified cereals.
**TVP is a trademark of Archer Daniels Midland Company and is a textured soy protein.
*** Oxalic acid, found in spinach, rhubarb, chard, and beet greens, binds with the calcium in those foods and reduces its absorption. Thus, these foods (which are not in the chart) cannot be considered good sources of calcium.
Data from USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 15, 2002 and manufacturers’ information.